Bahrain / by Alistair Galloway

Five people were left dead and hundreds detained after a raid by Bahraini government forces against a pro- opposition stronghold. This is said to be one of the deadlier crackdowns to happen in the Kingdom since protests began in 2011. Bahrain continues to have good diplomatic relations with both the United States and Egypt after King Hamad met with both Trump and Al-Sisi this month. The Gulf island continues to be criticized for its human rights record with the UN calling for the release of an imprisoned human rights activist as well as an investigation into the treatment of detainees. The Kingdom is also accused of cracking down on freedom of speech as well as censorship after barring a Human Rights Watch (HRW) official from entering the country and blocking eight Qatari news sources after an Emir was quoted criticising US foreign policy in a Qatari publication. Economically, Bahrain is trying to keep up amidst dropping oil prices by merging with other Gulf finance houses as well as investing in its small and medium sized enterprises. Nonetheless, the Kingdom reported a 3 per cent growth rate in its non-oil sector.